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Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

Lately, I have been experiencing more and more people who are exhausted from maintaining their own lives. Our culture has been stuck in this mentality that we need to have our lives in order; we need to be presentable people.

This culture’s mentality permeates every area of our lives. We have heard people say phrases like, “I will go to church when I get my life in order,” or “I am too much of a mess for friendships.” Maybe not those phrases specifically, but something similar.

We are broken people who all have scars and wounds. We all have fears and insecurities. The truth is that there is not enough glue in the world for us to keep it all together. It’s exhausting to try. I know I fail so much when I try to hold all of my pieces in place.

There is a man in the gospel of Matthew who has redefined what approaching God looks like for me. Matthew retells the story of a time when a man with Leprosy approached Jesus. He kneeled down before Jesus and asked him for healing.

I was taken aback by the counter-cultural act of authenticity by this community reject. This leper was a man ostracized from his community and family. He was tossed out of his city and home to live among other people like himself. Lepers were considered unclean. This man was quarantined as an outsider sent to wait on death.

This leper saw hope in Jesus. He left behind what he had been labeled as and approached the cleanest of men. He saw a clean man who could make him clean, and the unapproachable approached Jesus. By cultural standards, this man was labeled as too far gone to be helped.

This man has shown me the truth of what presentable really looks like.

You see Jesus came to save the people who knew they needed it. He did not come to save the ones who “had it all together.” My heart looks like this man. The truth is all of our hearts look like a version of the leper. That is the perfect time to approach God.

We are messy people. I am finally getting better at putting down the glue that is not working. No one is presentable enough. That is the point. The church is for the mutually messy hearted people. The church is formed because of people who mutually bring their messiness before the one who saves.

This leper brings even more resounding truth to the verse, “at just the right time when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. But god demonstrates his love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ did not wait until we were a people who had the right glue. He did not wait until we were presentable enough. Christ came in the midst of our powerless moments; he came in the midst of our sin. He touches our hearts and says, “I am willing.”

Christ came for the broken and wounded while they were still in that place. He came for the hopeless in the midst of their hopelessness, not after. Christ came for the “in the midst.

I am kneeling my messy heart before him and claiming that as presentable enough.

Do you try and hold it all together? Why?

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I often use the phrase, “I’m working on it” when referring to my heart. I am learning that in reality I use this phrase as a shield to guard against actually having to confront my messy heart.

I used this phrase recently, and afterward I had to ask myself the question, “am I really working on it?” I can play this card as a safeguard – as if saying, “I’m working on it” lets me off the hook for responding out of my fears. By hiding behind “working on it,” I give my fears permission to take root in me.

The reality is that our mess is really hard to work on. It takes courage to confront our own hearts. My heart resembles a crater field after the dust has settled from battle. It displays the wounds of life. I have craters with other people’s names on them. I also have holes that echo the natural consequences of my unwise decisions. I get overwhelmed when staring at all the craters in my heart. I have also experienced seasons of ignoring my wounds and walking away to find comfort elsewhere.

The false advertising of life is that pursuing comfort elsewhere does not add wounds to the already broken heart.

As the wounds of my heart run deep, they manifest in different masked ways. If feels scary to confront them. Saying it out loud makes them more real.

The foundation of my crater field happened in high school when the affair of my father came out. The news shattered my world and brought on a deep level of pain I never knew could be reached. This grief sowed seeds of real fear in the core of my heart. These seeds manifest themselves in ways I am aware of as well as in ways I am still learning to identify.

I struggle with abandonment in paralyzing and infuriating ways. I guard my heart so tight that pain can’t find a way in. This fear paralyzes me from taking risks to experience real life and real intimacy.

I also fear being replaced all the time. I fear intimacy as it forces me into places that require the risk of being vulnerable and my heart exposed. I fear being a “meantime” friend as if it were only a matter of time before my friends find someone better than me. I am not using “better” in a prideful way, but voicing my deep insecurity that keeps my heart on lock down. I hate the nagging feeling of always holding my breath in waiting. I even imagine, and play out in my head, being left by the other person as a way to prepare myself for pain. By actively staying in this place of fear, I voluntarily place the shackles on my life of being enslaved to those fears.

I hate this long standing pattern of life for me. God has already done a ton of healing in me. I can honestly say that I am more whole than I used to be. It is a conscious effort to choose to trust people. I am trying to get used to sitting in a place of discomfort and lack of control. That place is terrifying for me.

There’s still the question of what if someone did decide to leave? This is a real possibility. I still grieve the loss of some really close friendships. It is even more of a possibility as our culture moves further away from commitment.

God is my redeemer. He promises that he “began a good work in me and carries it on to completion.” I have now edited my comfort phrase from “I’m working on it” to “He’s working on me.” I cannot heal my own heart. God is gentle as he waits for me to surrender my white flag to him. God has been redirecting my life out of the desert. I have spent too many weeks/months/years living life there.

Instead of adding bricks to the Great Wall of me, I desire to begin surrendering myself to him. Hillsong has a great song with lyrics that state,“rid me of myself, I belong to you…lead me to the cross.” This is my hard prayer to pray.

What are you “working on?”

How is He working on you?

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Pain just freaking hurts. There is no confusion there. There is no mistaking pain for something else. It hurts inside and out.

Pain invokes a physical and an emotional response. There is no hiding when something hurts. I know I wear pain all over my face. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Not only do we respond to pain, but our bodies immediately begin to overcompensate for the injured area.

When your ankle or knee is hurt, the other leg and hip carry the weight. The body shifts into a mode of recovery when any bone is broken. That can also wear on you as well.

I remember when I broke my collar bone. My whole body hurt. All of my 2,000 parts overcompensated for months to pick up the slack for my injury. After months of adjusting, my shoulder healed but other parts of my body needed a break.

Healing takes time and adjustments. This is true for our emotions as well.

When our heart is broken, or emotions bruised, we begin to adjust to compensate for the pain. A broken heart takes as much time to heal as a broken bone does. However, when a broken bone heals, we need to relearn how to use those parts again. We cannot continue going through life just not using our legs or arms.

Emotions are similar.

The tricky thing about emotional pain is that we often stay in compensation mode. Once we make the adjustments to allow for healing, we often stay in those places – living off of those survival skills, and it becomes a way of life. This is not meant to be.

Emotions need healing, and once they do heal it is time to reintegrate them back into use. It is no small process. It often feels like things are getting worse before they seem to feel better. Don’t give up. It is in those heart sore times that you know healing is happening.

Healing hurts. It takes risk to choose the hard and patience to get better. Broken bones are sore when going through the process of being used again. Healing feels vulnerable and uncomfortable. There is nothing easy about it. It is worth it.

Don’t give up!

Are you afraid to heal?

In what ways are you healing these days?

(My oneword365)

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